Life is getting crazy again. Throughout January I was balancing proverbial plates, playing catch up with work while juggling new projects and my second job, taxes, and house hunting. Things can get on top of me sometimes, so much so that I often just want to walk away from the lot and hide in a cupboard. Then I remember I’m supposed to be an adult and running away is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. The best I can do is keeping planning ahead day by day, taking each new challenge as it comes, adding the small details to the list of what needs to be done, and taking a few seconds to breathe when it all feels just a tad overwhelming.
Also, recently, I’ve discovered it’s okay to drop the ball once in a while. It’s acceptable to slow down your pace and get some grounding. It’s alright to feel a little overwhelmed by the world. As children we’re often told these things are part of living, but carrying that reassurance into adulthood is difficult. Being grown up appears to have certain expectations; I think these differ for every individual. Cultures have placed certain credentials on adulthood throughout history. Many distinctions involve sex, financial independence, or educational success. I’m not sure if there is any one credential to finally being grown up, other than an inner feeling that you are. I go back and forth on the matter. There are days and moments within days when I think I’ve gotten the hang of life. I’ll surmount a particular challenge (such as filing taxes, or furniture assembly) and I’ll nod to myself, a strange adult-ness swelling in my chest. On other days I’ll stand back, look at my life and genuinely believe I’m a child pretending to be all grown up. It’s a coin flip as to how I’ll feel when.
However, I think there is a role of living independently closely linked to balance. Working with children I know this is a skill that is mastered with time, energy, age, persistence and hardship. You can go your whole life without mastering this one. I haven’t mastered it. Thinking about it, I can think of very few people I would call upon for direct advice on the matter, and one of them is a Buddhist nun. Part of learning the great life effecting power of balance, is having to do it alone. Everyone needs to conquer it in their own way, and everyone will have a different understanding of what it is. Personally, I find balance to be an equilibrium of every aspect, encompassing physical existence, health, mind and body, daily living, goals, dreams, faith and attitude, compassion, courage, morality, confidence, social living, and inner power. Balance is the great whole of all these things, where each is able to compliment the other to produce a happy, positive, influential lifestyle. Of course, this is a near impossibility, but any effort to stride towards it is vital and good. That’s why we learn it as we go, taking our individual circumstances and life lessons and adding to our experience day by day.
With that said, I would like to share the following video with you. The lady (I hope) you are about to watch performs what I consider to be a physical rendition of what I just described. If you find what I said too long or too hippy-dippy, it’s also an incredible feat of human ability…. So, just watch it anyway.
I’ll give you a moment to breathe that in; you just read on when you’re ready.
This astonishingly beautiful and talented lady is part of the Cirque Du Soleil show, Amaluna, and is known within the circle as The Goddess of Balance. If I were to create the picture of such a deity in my mind, this is as close a representation as I could summon. Always careful and poised, mindful of each move and moment, and in perfect control of everything, down to her breath. My gratitude goes out to whomever it was who decided to place a microphone on her; I found the knowledge of her breathing technique extremely satisfying. She hold her focus, choosing when to inhale and exhale based on how she needs to move. With each new addition to her creation, the matter of balance becomes harder, the need to dedication and unwavering attention more vital. Yet, she holds her act with grace and patience, slow but every steady, placing one bone upon another upon another, and weaving a unique structure. When it is complete, she is able to simply let it go. There’s a great power and humility in what she is doing.
Perhaps the most important thing to note is, she sometimes wobbles and wavers. At these points she simply halts herself. She breathes, stilling her body and her mind, and she continues, maybe a little slower, but she keeps going. I can only wonder to myself, would it matter if she dropped a stick? Would I be disappointed if she let the whole structure tumble mere moments before completion? Truth is, I don’t think it would, because I don’t think it would stop her. I get the impression the correct procedure in such a crisis would just be to start from scratch and finish the act. No drama, no frustration. Just acceptance and powering on. So, isn’t it the same with juggling lifey type matters. Granted dropping a metaphorical stick feels so much more devastating than seeing this lady drop a real one, but I think balance is often about how we conduct ourselves if we falter. It’s okay to stumble at every road block, the key is in how you go about then navigating it. Frustration and self-depreciation will only get you so far. Balance is about finding a way to stack life events, pain, rejection, difficulty, with the need to carry on regardless; it’s about taking a breath and finding poise, and carrying on moment to moment, until all your sticks are lined up.